miércoles, julio 02, 2014

Sobre el mestizaje

Parece que Dios mismo conduce los pasos del sajonismo, en tanto que nosotros nos matamos por el dogma o nos proclamamos ateos. ¡Cómo deben de reír de nuestros desplantes y vanidades latinas estos fuertes destructores de imperios! Ellos no tienen en la mente el lastre ciseroniano de la fraseología, ni en la sanger los instintos contradictorios de la mezcla de razas disímiles; pero cometieron el pecado de destruir esas razas, en tanto que nosotros las asimilamos, y esto nos da derechos nuevos y esperanzas de una misión sin precendentes en la Historia.
De La raza cósmica. José Vasconcelos

martes, junio 17, 2014

La guacamaya

(...) La llaman guacamaya y pertenece a la familia de los papagayos, pero tres veces más grande, pues tiene casi dos pies desde el pico hasta la punta de la cola. Es un soberbio animal, pero muy perverso, que no sólo mordisquea el palo donde se encarama, sino todas las puertas, y causa grandes estragos en las plantas, y, además, trata de morder a quienquiera que se le acerque. Emita unas cuantas palabras, roncas y confusas, y suele dar un chillido de lo más desapacible. Lo que pasa es que, presumiendo de su belleza, trata de ser lo más antipático que puede.
- De La vida en México. Durante una residencia de dos años en ese país. Madame Calderón de la Barca.

domingo, junio 08, 2014


A tribute to Allen Ginsberg's classic 1956 poem, a short film lampooning the addictions of our generation.

Yelp: With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" - By Tiffany Shlain & Ken Goldberg Here is the original Poem by Allen Ginsgerg. Sublime.

sábado, mayo 10, 2014

On Alan Turing

Turing's suicide is a touchy subject in computer science circles. There's an aversion to talking about it much, because we don't want our founding father to seem like a tabloid celebrity, and we don't want his memory trivialized by the sensational aspects of his death.

The legacy of Turing the mathemathician rises above any possible sensationalism. His contributions were supremely elegant and foundational. He gifted us with wild leaps of invention, including much of the mathematical underpinnings of digital computation. The highest award in computer science, our Nobel Prize, is named in his honor.

Turing the cultural figure must be acknowledged, however. The first thing to understand is that he was one of the great heroes of World War II. He was the first "cracker," a person who uses computers to defeat an enemy's security measures. He applied one of the first computers to break a Nazi secret code, called Enigma, which Nazi mathematicians had believed was unbreakable. Enigma was decoded by the Nazis in the field using a mechanical device about the size of a cigar box. Turing reconceived it as a pattern of bits that could be analyzed in a computer, and cracked it wide open. Who knows what world we would be living in today if Turing had not succeeded?

The second thing to know about Turing is that he was gay at a time when it was illegal to be gay. British authorities, thinking they were doing the most compassionate thing, coerced him into a quack medical treatment that was supposed to correct his homosexuality. It consisted bizarrely, of massive infusions of female hormones.

In order to understand how someone could have come up with that plan, you have to remember that before computers came along, the steam engine was a preferred metaphor for understanding human nature. All that sexual pressure was building up and causing the machine to malfunction, so the opposite essence, the female kind, ought to balance it out and reduce the pressure. This story should serve as a cautionary tale. The common use of computers, as we understand them today, as sources for models and metaphors of ourselves is probably about as reliable as the use of the steam engine was back then.

Turing developed breasts and other female characteristics and became terribly depressed. He commited suicide by lacing an apple with cyanide in his lab and eating it. Shortly after his death, he presented the world with a spiritual idea, which must be evaluated separately from his technical achievements. This is the famous Turing test. It is extremely rare for a genuinely new spiritual idea to appear, and it is yet another example of Turing's genius that he came up with one.

Turing presented his new offering in the form of a thought experiment, based on a popular Victorian parlor game. A man and a woman hide, and a judge is asked to determine which is which by relying only on the texts of notes passed back and forth.

Turing replaced the woman with a computer. Can the judge tell which is the man? If not, is the computer conscious? Intelligent? Does it deserve equal rights?

It's impossible for us to know what role the torture Turing was enduring at the time played in his formulation of the test. But it is undeniable that one of the key figures in the defeat of fascism was destroyed, by our side, after the war, because he was gay. No wonder his imagination pondered the rights of strange creatures.

- From You are not a gadget. Jaron Lanier. 

jueves, abril 03, 2014


Magueyes - Rubén Gámez

Las Dos Elenas

viernes, marzo 21, 2014

Madonna en el Códice Huexotzingo.

miércoles, marzo 19, 2014

Sexuality of the Isthmian Zapotecs

The tehuanas ignore the techniques of birth control, but abortive concoctions are known to witch doctors. The mechanics of love are the universal, standard techniques, devoid of refinements, and require no explanation. Their aesthetic ideals are much distorted by city ideas, and the general Mexican version of a "pin-up" girl, from magazine covers, calendars, and the movies, constitutes their concept of beauty. As the type is scarce in communities predominantly Indian, a particular suitor is content with fairness of skin and Caucasoid features. Men not quite so citified, however, are able to appreciate the local type of beauty: personality, sparkling eyes, and a substantial figure count most in the desirability of a girl in a man's eyes. Women are less particular in their choice of men; a good physique, a manly carriage, and the roguishness characteristic of the men of the Isthmus are enough to turn a woman's head. It should be mentioned that hairiness, curiosly enough, is a desirable trait, as it is indicative of "class", perhaps because it is an Indian characteristic to have little hair on the body. It is a dreadful insult to accuse a woman of having scanty pubic hair.
- Miguel Covarrubias. "Mexico South. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec".

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